Worth marks a point of transition for TheSunManager: April Hernandez’s project moves towards a band set-up, and the credits for the album gets a bunch of other names, too. You can hear it on the first offing: the sound is richer, more layered, somehow much warmer than on her EP, which was buoyed mostly by her guitar and her voice. But this isn’t to suggest that it’s all change on the record: after the shock of the first couple of tracks everything settles down, and by the second half of the album it actually feels familiar, peaking with “Other Side”, a quaint sing-along that punches above its weight and provides perhaps the most cathartic part of the record: the recurring chorus of “you’re enough for me” is a satisfying anchor to the record. And that is what TheSunManager does best: despite the short runtimes (Worth only has eight tracks; her EP ran for five) there is this quality I can’t quite pin down. It’s optimistic but not to the point of being cloying; it’s realistic but hopeful. Well, there, perhaps I did just pin it down. | 4/5
From my nascent time directly observing the local indie scene, April Hernandez is one of its quiet yet most effective workers. While she does a bunch of things for other artists, you more likely know her as TheSunManager, whose music bursts with an effortless optimism. On Friday she will release her first full-length debut, Worth, and we’ve taken the chance to ask her about the five songs she can’t live without. Her selections have actually surprised us – and it’s a good thing, we must add.
“Go On” by TheSunManager | I finally got to say hello to April two Sundays back. We’ve been tweeting occasionally the year before – I don’t know how I get into such things – and resolved that I would say hello to her, in person, during the Arigato, Internet! launch. And then I got shy, so I had to tweet first before saying hello. Yeah, I’m rambling. It’s a short one. I’m Niko is the gist of it, and also, good luck later! since she’s playing. A few months ago Rainy and I took her EP for a spin, and now I’m watching the music video for one of the tracks on it, “Go On” – this was just released last night – and I realize this one thing April is: she’s such a stabilizing presence, a comfortable presence, on stage and on Twitter and in this song about everything going wrong and you just holding on. Which we all ought to do. [NB]
“Cold Water” by TheSunManager | Rainy and I listened to the debut EP from TheSunManager (aka small-girl-with-big-guitar April Hernandez) while stuck in Cubao traffic. This track, the third, comes on. “I like it,” she says, connecting to an earlier conversation we had about the bouncy, for lack of a better term, beats that she prefers. “If she releases a full-length album, I bet this would get a bit more polish,” I later remarked, knowing that this is a self-produced EP and she could only do so much. And then the song faded out and I was, all, “why did you fade out?” But we enjoyed the EP, quite, down to the realization that the lyrics are hidden in the notebook (which we thought was a photo book – ah, the pleasures you get when you don’t try knowing it all). And it got us through a longer-than-usual trip from Ali Mall to Maginhawa. Not bad for a semi-impulsive purchase during an unusual (for me) visit to Cubao. I say semi-impulsive because, well, that purchase was bound to happen after I first saw her live last October. [NB]
If you’ll forgive me, I’ll write about visual arts on what is supposedly a music blog. Yes, I did come (slightly spontaneously) to the launch of The Gathering Season, the first solo exhibition of Reese Lansangan running all this month at Heima Brixton, to watch her perform. We’ve been on to her since Rainy saw her at the Greenlight Music Festival, and I felt that it would be great if we saw her perform together. Too bad Rainy had work last night.